The much anticipated, Bill Cosby sexual assault case started today and is expected to last two weeks. Cosby is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault. When this trial ends, one of America’s most beloved father figures and celebrities may be facing jail time for violating a woman sexually. The woman in question is Andrea Constand and this is not her first time accusing 79-year-old Cosby of taking advantage of her sexually. In fact, this isn’t even the first time she has taken Cosby to court, alleging he violated her in 2004 at his home.
With many cases, a trial is the last piece of the puzzle, a final verdict or guilty or not guilty. Somehow, I don’t think that whether Cosby is found guilty or not guilty, that this will end anytime soon. If he is found guilty, it will only open the floodgate of attempted criminal suits or civil suits from the numerous other women who have alleged that Cosby sexually assaulted them. If he is found not guilty, it will be a verdict that no doubt, parallels the OJ Simpson murder trial.
Although OJ Simpson was found not guilty in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and waiter, Ron Goldman. The not guilty verdict did nothing to alleviate Simpson of the burden and public scorn that he carried since the being accused of the murders. If Bill Cosby is found not guilty, his reputation will never recover. There will be those who will always believe the accusations.
Cosby’s legacy has been irreparably damaged and no not guilty verdict can change the fact that nearly 60 women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault in the court of public opinion.
In fact, in order to deter the jurors to not be swayed by the court of public opinion, the judge has had them sequestered. The trial jury consists of 10 Whites and two Blacks. “Trust, betrayal and inability to consent, that’s what this case is about,” was the opening for Montgomery County Deputy District Attorney Kristen Feden today in court. She went on to lay out her case as to why the jury should find Cosby guilty.
In case you haven’t been following the details of this case let me give you a brief rundown.
In 2015 Hannibal Burress, a comedian, made jokes about Bill Cosby being a rapist. Suddenly the internet was going crazy with searches for information on Bill Cosby and rape. There was much to be found, apparently, Bill Cosby had been not only accused but sued for sexual assault in the past.
The 2005 civil case that Bill Cosby paid a settlement in to avoid trial, became public. For a while it seemed that every day a woman was coming out of the woodwork to say that they too, had been sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.
It seemed that all but maybe one of these accusations had passed the statute of limitations and could not be prosecuted. Somehow, the previously closed and sealed civil suit was reopened and turned into a criminal suit. The sealed deposition was unsealed and the words that Bill Cosby said years ago came back to haunt him.
In 2004, Andrea Constand contends that she went to Bill and Camille Cosby’s home to discuss her career with the actor/comedian. While there, Constand says that Cosby gave her pills and a glass of wine telling them they would relax her. In fact, Feden quoted Cosby as saying, “these three friends will help you relax.”
Constand did not tell anyone for a year after the alleged assault, that Bill Cosby had raped her. When she did finally tell someone, she didn’t just stop at telling a friend, she filed a lawsuit. In 2005, during a civil lawsuit deposition, Cosby made statements that are now being used against him. Cosby, in his own words, during a recorded deposition, admitted to procuring Quaaludes and giving them to women. Cosby stated that he had had sex with Andrea Constand on several occasions and on the day that she alleges she was raped, that he had given her a couple Benadryl. Constand contends that she was told they were herbal supplements.
Andrea Constand’s deposition states that the last thing she heard before she passed out what “I’m going to let you relax.” During today’s rape trial D.A. Feden described in graphic detail how after Constand was incapacitated and incapable of consent, Cosby went on to “gratify himself.”
The 2005 civil case, for which Cosby and Constand reached an undisclosed settlement, is the source of much of the evidence being used against Bill Cosby. Among the witnesses expected to testify against the aging comedian are a woman previously identified as “Prior Alleged Victim Six.” Andrea Constand’s mother is also expected to testify. Constand’s mother confronted Cosby by phone after her daughter told her what happened. Her mom recorded phone calls with Cosby who profusely apologized for upsetting Andrea during what he insisted was a “consensual act.” Cosby then offered to pay for Andrea’s grad school education, therapy, and other things.
Bill Cosby is being represented by the defense attorney, Brian McMonagle, who does not deny Cosby procured the Quaaludes and ascertained that they were trendy at one point. In his opening statement, he told the jury, “Sexual assault is a terrible crime, it takes away dignity,” McMonagle told the jury in his opening statement. Only a “false accusation of sexual assault is worst — it’s an attack on human dignity,“ he continued.
For those of us who have waited for Bill Cosby to stand up for himself, to say he’s innocent, to finally break his silence. We will have to keep waiting, Cosby is not expected to take the stand in his own defense.